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Gophers volleyball take series with Michigan State

Led by opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy, Minnesota swept the Spartans to open up the season 2-0.
Image by Shannon Doyle
Opposite hitter Stephanie Samedy spikes the ball to earn a point for the Gophers in Maturi Pavilion on Sunday, Jan. 24. The Gophers won against Michigan State Spartans with a score of 3-0.

The Minnesota volleyball team powered its way to a second-straight sweep with a Sunday matinee win against Michigan State.

The Gophers again won in straight sets: 26-24, 25-22 and 25-12, after winning in straight sets the night afternoon before. Despite winning all six sets over the course of the weekend, the two matches against the Spartans were hard-fought for the Gophers. Head coach Hugh McCutcheon said after the match Sunday that the victories say a lot about this season’s squad.

“It speaks well to the team to have a little bit of a backbone,” McCutcheon said. “We had to grind out a few of those sets and have to clean a few things up, but it means this team has some resilience to them.”

Minnesota was able to pull out the first two sets in a tight back-and-forth battle. The Gophers jumped out to an early lead in the second set, but the Spartans would not go away, tying the score at 16 and forcing McCutcheon to call a timeout. The timeout seemed to get Minnesota back on track, as the Gophers finished out the set with some key plays made all over the court.

After winning the second set, Minnesota came out strong in the third set, much like it had in the third set Saturday. The Gophers kept the pedal to the metal throughout the set, leading by as many as 15 at one point in the set.

“[Closing out strong] shows that we are determined, gritty and that we’re able to make adjustments throughout the match,” Samedy said.

It was the Stephanie Samedy show on the stat sheet, but it was an all-around performance to pull out the victory. The senior outside hitter contributed all across the board with 14 kills, eight digs and six blocks, but players like C.C. McGraw, Melani Shaffmaster and Rachel Kilkelly made key digs to keep volleys alive for Minnesota. McGraw, Shaffmaster and Kilkelly finished with 15, 11 and eight digs respectively.

“She’s a beast. Flat out,” middle blocker Katie Myers said of Samedy’s play. “It’s just great having such a good player next to me who I can trust to make those types of plays.”

Minnesota will play again Friday as part of a two-week stretch on the road as the Gophers will take on Maryland in a two-match series. The Terrapins lost their first two matches against Ohio State this weekend.

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